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History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840



After the flight of Ngati-Toa, the Ngai-Tahu forces hastened back to Wai-harakeke, where they had left their canoes, and launching them, immediately came on to the north past Cape Campbell (Te Karaka), and then made all possible haste after Te Rau-paraha's party, which had gone into Port Underwood (Native name, Whanganui and Kakata), a distance of over thirty miles from Cape Campbell. It page 540was the morning after Te Rau-paraha's escape that the Ngai-Tahu force, flushed with victory, landed at the head of the harbour and found that Ngati-Toa had only just left by the old native track that led over the ridge by O-raumoa to Opua, at the head of Anapua, a bay on the Tory Channel. The pursuers at once gave chase and came up with Ngati-Toa posted on the ridge, when a battle immediately ensued, which ended in Ngati-Toa having to retreat to the shores of Anapua, Tory Channel. From here Te Rau-paraha either crossed himself or sent messengers over the straits to Port Nicholson for help. In response two very large canoes, manned by a number of Ngati-Toa, Ngati-Rau-kawa, Ati-Awa, and Ngati-Mutunga, crossed over to the help of the others in Tory Channel. Thus strengthened, the allies proceeded to attack Ngai-Tahu, which tribe were apparently still occupying the ridge at O-raumoa, and a series of fights took place. Ngati-Mutunga, on one occasion, made a dashing charge led by Te Kaurapa (brother of Raumoa), but were badly beaten by Ngai-Tahu, who killed the leader of the charge. Tu-te-hou-muku (son of Tama-i-hara-nui, who had been so barbarously killed by Te Pehi-kupe's wives, see Chapter XVI.) was the leader of Ngai-Tahu in this affair, and their ngeri, or war-song, commences with, "E! Ka tete te hakariki! i, i, i, e, ia!" for which I am indebted to Mr. Shand. Old Watene Taungatara of Ati-Awa told me that Ngai-Tahu were greatly elated at this defeat of Ngati-Mutunga, and said, "We thought this was a tribe of warriors, but now we see they are not so."

Paora Taki says that after the defeat of Ngati-Mutunga they and Ngati-Toa retreated to a bay (Anapua, on the shores of Tory Channel) where the opposing parties occupied the two ends of the beach, and were followed by Ngai-Tahu, and several fights occurred there. He adds that Ngati-Toa and their allies numbered four hundred fighting men, all armed with muskets, whilst his party had only thirty blunderbusses. Tāre Wetere says, "This was a great battle—Ngai-Tahu at one end of the beach, Ngati-Toa, Ngati-Rau-kawa, Ngati-Rarua, and Ngati-Mutunga at the other, just over a point. There they fought and Ngai-Tahu killed many chiefs of the allies, Ngati-Mutunga suffering especially. Very many on Te Rau-paraha's side were killed—one authority says seventy men—but very few on that of Ngai-Tahu. When the powder and ball of Ngai-Tahu were exhausted they concluded to retire, but were pursued by Te Rau-paraha. This was at night. After reaching Port Underwood they took to their canoes, and at daylight the pursuers were seen following in their canoes. The Ngai-Tahu canoes were now put about with the intention of fighting the enemy at sea, but when Ngati-Toa saw this movement page 541they were afraid; they turned about and fled to their own district of Kapiti, and Ngai-Tahu returned home, which ended the campaign."*

As Ngai-Tahu passed round Cape Campbell the sea was very rough, and one of the canoes capsized, when Tu-te-hou-nuku (already referred to) was drowned. Then followed an incident peculiarly Maori. When the fleet arrived at Kai-koura some of the relatives of the drowned man set upon the crew who had escaped and killed several as utu for the loss of their chief. This is a peculiar law and has often been recorded, not only of Maoris but of other Polynesians.

There is an incident connected with these fights which I have found very difficult to place in its proper position—I quote it below, from Mr. Shand (Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. I., p. 94). Watene Taungatara, a reliable authority on Ati-Awa history, says it occurred soon after the defeat of Ngati-Mutunga at O-raumoa, and if so, it is probable Ngati-Toa and their allies followed up Ngai-Tahu beyond Capo Campbell. He says, "The combined forces returned across Cook's Straits at once to attack Ngai-Tahu." (This was after Te Rau-paraha had escaped from Kapara-te-hau and the fight on O-raumoa ridge.) "On landing in the darkness at Wai-harakeke (seven miles south of Cape Campbell) they were so eager to attack the Ngai-Tahu that some of the Ngati-Mutunga—Te Whare-pa, Riwai, Tau-pata, Mohi Nga-waina, and many others—together with the people of other tribes, took the wrong track in the darkness, luckily for Ngai-Tahu, who, finding their enemies were in force, began to wail aloud in prospect of to-morrow. The attacking party heard them distinctly but were unable to get at them till day dawned. Meanwhile the Ngai-Tahu managed to get away silently in their canoes, which apparently, in the darkness, had not been perceived by Te Rau-paraha's party, and made good their escape, the attacking party finding only the ashes of their fires early in the morning."

Judge Mackay also says (A.H.M., Vol. VI., p. 121….. "After procuring reinforcements, Ngati-Toa started in pursuit of the Ngai-Tahu, whom they came up with at Wai-harakeke, where a fight ensued, the Ngai-Tahu getting the worst of it. The Ngai-Tahu say they gained the victory, and that not only was this attack unavenged, but on a subsequent occasion they successfully conducted an expedition against Ngati-Toa in the neighbourhood of Port Underwood, where a number of that tribe were killed, whose deaths have never been avenged," etc. etc.

For the final expedition of Ngai-Tahu to Queen Charlotte Sound,

* Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. X., p. 90.

page 542readers are referred to Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. X., p. 99. Nothing, however, came of it, and not very long after a formal peace was made between Ngai-Tahu and Ngati-Toa, which has not since been broken. During this last expedition Taiaroa, the well-known chief of Otago, separated from the main body and proceeded to kill all. the Rangi-tane people he could find in the Wairau Valley, Twenty people were captured by him; of these, five men, four women, and two children were killed, the others enslaved, whilst many others were driven away inland. These latter remained in hiding in the mountains for many years, and it was not until 1841 that the survivors, some ten or twelve in all, were found living at the head of the Wairau gorge. They were brought out to the coast by some of their own people, for by this time the white man had settled on the shores of Cook's Straits, and they were no longer in danger of their lives.*

* Told to me by the late John Tinline.